Davos, the super-exclusive annual gathering of the world’s political and business elite displays all the features of a petri dish for the spread of “crony capitalism”. A tiny number of extraordinarily powerful individuals meet to discuss how the affairs of all seven billion human beings should be planned and co-ordinated. It represents an environment for the growth of regulation, intervention and enhanced barriers to entry for small businesses.
All too often what we see in criticisms of capitalism are actually examples of rent-seeking and corporations trying to game the system, which amounts to crony capitalism.
But has crony capitalism like that displayed in Davos become a catch-all term? The challenge for free markets, and for capitalism, is manifold: the message is tarnished, the frames are poor, and, fundamentally, the moral case for what they achieve is missing.
On this week's podcast, the IEA's Digital Manager Darren Grimes is joined by the IEA’s Director General Mark Littlewood and the Director of the IEA’s FREER initiative Rebecca Lowe to discuss these challenges.
Latin America’s once-richest country, sitting atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves, is an economic basket case, a humanitarian disaster, with a dictatorship whose demise many believe cannot come soon enough. But, is it socialism that’s to blame for the widespread starvation, critical medical shortages, an explosion in crime, and a refugee crisis to rival Syria’s? You’re much more likely to read that this crisis is the product of corruption, cronyism, populism, authoritarianism, resource-dependency, U.S. sanctions and trickery OR even the residues of capitalism itself. Darren Grimes, Digital Manager at the IEA, was joined by the IEA’s Head of Political Economy Krisitian Niemietz and the Daily Telegraph’s Assistant Comment Editor, Madeline Grant to discuss was Venezuela REAL socialism?
Opinion surveys consistently suggest that the British public is overwhelmingly hostile to immigration - a hostility which shapes our immigration policies in many ways - often negatively. However, if we dig a little deeper into the polling data, it becomes clear that most people in Britain are not pro or anti immigration per se. Despite overall hostility to immigration, there are types of immigration that are widely accepted, or even popular with the general public. Today we're joined by the IEA's Head of Political Economy Dr Kristian Niemietz, the author of our latest report into migration. Kristian proposes a new post-Brexit immigration policy that would capitalise on the nuances in public opinion to push for the most liberal migration policy possible.
In this episode of Policy Matters, hosts Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson talk to Alex Bryson, Professor of Quantitative Social Science at University College London. Alex is one of the UK’s leading figures in sports economics and he firstly explains what sports economics is and how it can be used to draw policy inferences in other more familiar areas of economics. Franz, Matt and Alex then discuss the findings of Alex’s paper looking at whether people discriminate against black players when picking their ‘fantasty football’ team and what this might tell us about labour market discrimination. How football referees’ performances are impacted by their employment contract and how having 50,000 vocal fans scrutinising their decisions affects their decision-making are other topics under discussion. Finally, Alex explains how data from baseball can help us understand individual effort choices when working as part of a team.
In this week's podcast, we were joined by the IEA's Head of Political Economy, Kristian Niemietz, the author of a recent paper which ventures into the realm of fiction to examine the fundamental flaws of socialism. Kristian and Editorial Manager Madeline Grant discuss the popular meme that socialism is a great idea in theory, but only fails due to bad implementation, or corrupt officials - as advocated by trendy millennial socialists today. Kristian debunks this idea, but explores how it has been extremely influential in art, culture and fiction over the last century. We look at why it has proven so compelling, and whether free marketeers need to do more to make the moral and philosophical case for capitalism - as well as arguing on raw economic grounds.
In this episode of Policy Matters, hosts Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson are joined by Dr George MacKerron, senior lecturer in economics at the University of Sussex. George is an expert in the economics of happiness and wellbeing and the man behind the ‘mappiness’ project. George explains the importance of looking beyond financial measures of individual and national wellbeing and discusses the extent to which the cliché that ‘money can’t buy happiness’ holds true. Franz, Matt and George then discuss the findings from the ‘mappiness’ project which collects real-time data on individual’s self-reported happiness, allowing detailed analysis of the activities that have the greatest impact on how we feel and the way this also depends on where we are and who we’re with. George goes on to explain a number of ways in which public policy can have real impact on individual’s happiness and wellbeing.
This year, Saturday November 10th was Equal Pay Day – the day the Fawcett Society calculates that women, on average, essentially start working for free, because of the gender pay gap. But Office for National Statistics calculated just a few weeks back that the pay gap is the lowest it’s ever been on record. Yet Equal Pay Day hasn’t moved. It’s the same day as it was last year. A new IEA briefing, written by Associate Director Kate Andrews and Chief Economist Julian Jessop, argues that this is a result of calculating the gender pay gap in order to obtain a figure nearly 60% higher than the official data. Kate Andrews has put together a podcast to provide ‘alternative listening’ for those who don’t want to engage in fear-mongering around women in the workplace. Kate brings together women from across the political spectrum, with diverse background and views, but who all agree on one thing – that’s that there’s a positive story to tell about women who work. She asks them all: ‘What positive message do you want to send to women today’, and also asks them for a practical policy proposal to help tackle the issues that working women still face.
Do you identify as part of a generational group? From student politics to social media via milliennial voting patterns and intersectionality, FREER Director Rebecca Lowe and FREER Co-Chair Lee Rowley are joined by commentator Tom Harwood to discuss generational attitudes to freedom and more.
In this first episode of the new series of Policy Matters, hosts Franz Buscha and Matt Dickson spent some time reflecting back on their previous guests and discuss some of the key messages that each episode brought up. Why is social mobility important? Are grammar schools good for social mobility? Are there upsides to vocational education and why should HE students take care when selecting degrees? Both Matt and Franz highlight particular lessons learned and how they relate to current policy. Franz and Matt then look forward to this new season of Policy Matters and discuss topics such as health, crime, gender and happiness that will be explored in more detail in future episodes.
This week we’re joined by Dr Steve Davies, Head of Education at the IEA, to discuss one of the most hot-button issues in American politics – the right to bear arms.
Interviewed by the IEA’s News Editor Kate Andrews, Steve gives us a history lesson on the Second Amendment, where the right came from, and what both sides of the debate get wrong.
Steve argues that the right to bear arms came from a philosophy of classical republicanism or civic humanism, which means that in a self governing republic, all citizens have certain obligations and duties upon them, one of which is to use force against outsiders or a tyrannical state.
In this sense, gun ownership is an individual right, but not a private right, making gun advocates and gun control advocates alike wrong in their approach to the issue.
Steve discusses the Swiss-style system, which is one of the best examples of an armed militia, and how its gun laws differ from the United States.
The pair also discuss what makes homicide rate and mass shootings more or less likely, with Steve arguing it has less to do with weapon proliferation, and more to do with societal norms and culture.
Finally, Kate asks Steve the million pound question – does the UK need a Second Amendment?
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